Kate Martin is only 24 and is about to release her third full-length album. Her secret? Simply that she’s constantly writing and collecting ideas for songs. The four years between her second LP and Set My Life to Fire was in fact a hiatus Martin enforced on herself: denying her impulse to rush-release music and instead taking a step back. Single Kintsukuroi – inspired by the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery – is the first indicator of what’s to come: delicate and melodic, with fire in its belly.
Broadsheet: Where did you grow up and where do you live now?
Kate Martin: I was born and raised in Townsville; I moved to Melbourne in winter 2012. Moving from consistent heat to freezing Melbourne was an interesting change.
BS: What can we expect from Set My Life to Fire?
KM: I didn’t want to be limited by genre, or stereotyped because I have a guitar onstage. I thought seriously about every idea that went into each track on this record, so I guess people can expect a thoughtful record that captures lots of different moods.
BS: Can you tell us a little bit about your relationship with Kintsukuroi?
KM: Kintsukuroi is a concept that’s very close to my heart. I found out about it online a few years ago. Kintsukuroi is a Japanese word that means “the golden repair”. It’s the longstanding Japanese art of repairing broken pottery with gold or silver lacquer. There is no attempt to hide the brokenness; in fact, it is the very thing that makes the piece so special. I was really drawn in by the idea that something, or rather someone, can be more beautiful for having been broken. I think brokenness is a part of life that defines and refines us.
BS: Who are your songwriting heroes?
KM: I grew up listening to what my parents were into so basically a lot of jazz; Bob James – Grand Piano Canyon was our favourite record to dance to growing up. I’ve always appreciated artists with a chameleonic writing style such as Sufjan Stevens. Vesuvius from The Age of Adz is pure poetry. My latest guilty pleasure is Dua Lipa – Last Dance, amazing pop writing.
BS: What else inspires you?
KM: What I’ve found inspires me the most at the moment is flying on planes at night-time. Being in the air without any distraction, it’s a transient feeling that changes my perspective on things and from that place ideas always start to flow.
BS: Fantasy support slot – any artist, any era, anywhere?
KM: Well … James Blake is coming out for Splendour …
SYD: Kate Martin plays the Brighton Up Bar on Thursday May 26.
MELB: Kate Martin plays The Workers Club on Friday June 10.